Wednesday 27 September 2023

Self-cultivation and advertising of marijuana will be prohibited in Costa Rica

Changes are intended to give political viability to the bill. Costa Rica will not promote itself as a tourist destination for the consumption of marijuana either.

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QCOSTARICA — In order to grant political viability to the proposal that seeks to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the possibility for Costa Ricans to grow their own cannabis will be eliminated.

In addition, any form of advertising related to marijuana will be prohibited and the proposal to promote Costa Rica internationally as a country for cannabis consumption will be excluded from the text, as explained by legislator Manuel Morales for the Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD) – the government party.

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“In the commission, we presented a substitute text of the bill to make it politically viable. Since the initiative will not obtain a positive majority opinion to go to the plenary, we will promote these changes through motions. They are proposals that have been requested by legislators who oppose the law and who intend to make it more viable,” said Morales.

In relation to self-cultivation, the bill establishes that anyone interested in cultivating cannabis must obtain a permit, register, and pay taxes.

In the previous version of the text, it was permissible for households to grow a maximum of six plants for their own use.

The registry will be in charge of the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) – Ministry of Agriculture – and will include the precise identification of the growers, the cultivation areas, the exact location of the production farms, and the storage places of the products.

Regarding advertising, any form of promotion and sponsorship of psychoactive cannabis products and their derivatives will be prohibited.

The only exceptions will be for establishments with a license for consumption and the direct communication of sellers with consumers. This last point will be defined by regulation.

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The initiative also contemplates the restriction to establish cannabis sales points in residential areas or in areas less than 400 meters from educational centers, health centers, churches, nursing homes, or children’s centers, among other places.

Despite the changes, several legislators oppose the initiative, considering that the plan does not provide benefits for Costa Rica.

“Regarding recreational cannabis, we hope that the common sense of legislators from all factions will prevail and that the file will be closed. Addictions to this type of substance have become a serious problem in Western societies and marijuana is the gateway to this underlying world, especially for adolescents and young people in Costa Rica,” said Fabricio Alvarado from the Partido Nueva República.

For his part, Óscar Izquierdo, head of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) faction, affirmed that during the commission process it became clear that the repressive judicial authorities were opposed to the plan, and stressed that to date no valid argument has emerged to change his opinion.

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Last week, the defenders of cannabis received bad news from Congress when it was confirmed that the majority of the legislators of the Environment Commission accepted a report that the initiative should be revoked. A negative majority opinion is expected this week.

However, the victory of the conservative bloc, made up of the PLN and Nueva República, would be insignificant considering that there is a tendency in plenary to revive the bill and allow private companies and the government to enter a market of more than US $120 million yearly.

“With individual arguments and debates with legislators, there is enough space to demolish myths and obtain the necessary political support to legalize cannabis,” said Pilar Cisneros, head of the PLP faction.

The prohibitions

These are some of the prohibitions that would be established in the new cannabis law for adult use:


The sale, supply and involvement of persons under 18 years of age in productive and commercial activities related to cannabis is prohibited.

Sites prohibited for consumption

Health and hospital centers or establishments, workplaces, public agencies, public and private educational centers and sports facilities and places where shows and recreational activities take place, as well as bus and taxi stops


Any form of advertising, promotion and sponsorship is prohibited

Maximum per person

Possession and personal transport may not exceed 40 grams


Self-cultivation of cannabis is prohibited

Cannabis dispensaries

They may not be located in residential areas, nor within 400 meters of educational centers, health centers, churches, nursing homes or children’s centers

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